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(p. 199) 7. Reviewing Promises 

(p. 199) 7. Reviewing Promises
Chapter:
(p. 199) 7. Reviewing Promises
Author(s):

Sarah Worthington

DOI:
10.1093/he/9780199290505.003.0007
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date: 13 December 2019

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter is concerned with instances where Equity allows one party to escape the rigours of an apparently binding promise. The justification for contradicting apparently binding contractual agreements and perfectly properly intended gifts is simply the perception that it is sometimes unfair or unconscionable for the defendant to insist on his strict legal rights. The offending deals are then unwound; the defendant is forced to give up any enrichments that he should not have obtained. The different forms of intervention can be categorized under three heads. The first category is confined to written contracts, where the writing does not embody the real agreement between the parties. The writing may either misrepresent or omit certain critical features of the deal. Equity may then intervene to ensure that injustice does not ensue. The second category is devoted to procedural unfairness, and focuses on flaws in the claimant's consent to the underlying deal. The third category is concerned with substantive unfairness. Here Equity's intervention is far more paternalistic. It will sometimes intervene if the terms of the deal are unfair. This is a most aggressive form of intervention. It means interfering with a bargain even though there is no suggestion that the parties did not truly consent to the arrangement.

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